MARK Renshaw’s Dimension Data team may not have been able to secure their third Tour of Britain general classification victory this year, but when the event concluded on Sunday they still had something to celebrate.
The eighth stage of the annual event, a 180 kilometre leg from Worcester to Cardiff, was won by Renshaw’s team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen.
“We had a plan from the beginning of the day for me to try to attack with two or three kilometers to go,” he said after crossing the line in a time of four hours, 19 minutes.
“It was great to be at the front and I’m happy I moved up to second place overall. I’ve had a nice week with the team and I’m happy to finish it off like this.”
The Norwegian went into the event as defending champion and Renshaw was tasked with the job of trying to help him succeed again.
Though Boasson Hagen missed out, Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider Lars Boom holding him off by eight seconds, both he and Renshaw showed good form during the event.
Heading into the final stage Boasson Hagen had twice finished runner-up after Renshaw had provided him with a good lead out for a sprint finish.
The team was also unlucky not to have picked up a stage win with Boasson Hagen actually crossing the line first on the second day, before being relegated to the rear of the peloton for irregular sprinting.
Following the fifth stage individual time trial, Boasson Hagen had 15 seconds to try and make up on Boom. It meant the three days which followed saw Renshaw working hard for his team-mate.
The sixth stage saw riders having to contend with wet and slippery conditions as they made their way through the 187km from Newmarket to Aldeburgh.
As the finish line loomed Renshaw was near the front of the peloton with Boasson Hagen in tow, but in the end his team-mate was boxed in when it came to the sprint after losing his wheel.
He ended up eighth, with Australian Caleb Ewan taking the honours in 4.13.06. Renshaw rolled across the line 37 seconds later.
“We were down to just three riders for the lead out,” Dimension Data sports director Roger Hammond said.
“It was a technical sprint and you always need a bit of luck. Eddy lost the wheel in the last corner and in a final like this, there is just no time to make it up.”
In stage seven – a 185km race from Hemel Hempstead to Cheltenham – the rain again tested riders.
Renshaw and his team-mates worked hard to set up Boasson Hagen for an attack on the final climb. He broke clear, but was caught 2km from the finish.